Ray-Banis one of the most well known names in sunglasses, and for good reason. A legendary American company that’s been operating since the mid 1930s, Ray-Ban’s innovative approach to creating stylish glasses has made it a leader in the industry.
Did you know that one of the world’s most celebrated fashion sunglasses companies got its start making functional sunglasses for the military? After a US Air Force pilot complained of poor vision during a balloon flight, eye care giant Bausch & Lomb set out to make a pair of sunglasses that combined both function and fashion.
The end result was one of the most iconic pairs of shades in history: the legendary Ray-Ban Aviators. Released in 1936 exclusively for Air Force pilots, the sunglasses became a must-have male fashion accessory after General Douglas MacArthur was photographed wearing a pair during a US Navy operation in the Philippines.
Ray-Ban rode the Aviator wave throughout the 1940s, creating version after version of the highly popular sunglasses. In the 1950s, however, with their popularity on the way down, the company followed up with its most iconic pair of sunglasses to date: the legendary Ray-Ban Wayfarers.
Wayfarers grew into an icon of the late 1950s, with celebrities such as James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, and Bob Dylan sporting the iconic shades. Even President John F. Kennedy was a fan, sporting the sunglasses in publicity photos during his 1960 presidential campaign.
After immense success during the 1950s and 1960s, Ray-Ban faded from the fashion spotlight during the 1970s. With few new designs and limited advertising, the brand took a backseat to the growing popularity of square and oversized sunglasses worn by counterculture icons such as John Lennon and Jane Fonda.
It was the 1980s, however, that marked a renaissance for the brand that’s continued for decades. The iconic use of Wayfarers inThe Blues Brothersin 1980 gave Ray-Ban a surge in popularity, followed by an even bigger boost following the release ofTop Gunin 1986.
Today, Ray-Ban is no longer American, having been bought by Italian eyewear giantLuxotticain 1999. Despite its international ownership, the brand’s values are much the same as before: creating stylish, iconic sunglasses that are both very functional – protecting wearers from UV rays and eye damage – and devastatingly good looking.
This article was written by Sunglasses UK, the UK’s leading sunglasses retailer. Visit their website to browse the latest prescription Ray Ban sunglasses.